#occupyOakland October 25: Tear Gas, Arson Averted, Veteran Interview

October 26, 2011

October 25, 2011

A group of 1,000-2,000 protesters confronted police at Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland, California tonight.  Police blocked the entrance to the primary park in which #occupyOakland protesters have been living after evicting the protesters earlier in the day.  Tear gas was fired multiple times by police after many verbal warnings to protesters.

(warning: audio contains profanity)

A half dozen helicopters above, one with a powerful spotlight, circled and hovered for hours above downtown Oakland, adding to the tense atmosphere of the standoff.

“From Oakland to Greece, F— the police,” and other profanity laden anti-police chants broke out before a rogue protester threw projectiles at police, who responded with flash bangs grenades, rubber bullets, and a tear gas fired into the crowd.  One veteran named Scott Olsen, a Marine who toured in Iraq, was critically injured by a rubber bullet at close range.

Arsonists lit a gasoline fire under a van at the base of the Oakland Tribune building, and it was quickly extinguished by brave protesters, literally risking their lives to keep the demonstration peaceful.  Liquid gasoline burned in the gutter near parallel parked cars’ gas tanks and was difficult to extinguish with water.  Protesters risked a spontaneous vehicle explosion in stamping out the stubborn liquid chemical fire set by arsonists in a heroic effort to keep the protest peaceful and safe.  Cheers and applause are audible as the fire is suffocated.

Joshua Shepherd, 27 and a Navy veteran, explains why he came out and marched.  His flag read “Veterans for Peace.”

Shepherd can be seen here being fired upon at close range by police with flash bangs and tear gas as a crowd regroups around him to attend to another veteran, Scott Olsen (mentioned above), who is critically injured by a rubber bullet, and suffered a fractured skull and brain swelling.  The police here deliberately fire a flash bang at the group of protesters attending to the injured veteran.  Though protesters were warned dozens upon dozens of times to move, it defies humanity to fire at the already wounded and those seeking to assist.

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The march convened at Snow Park, regrouped, and moved to Ogawa Plaza where tear gas was eventually used multiple times

Tense moments between police and protesters before more tear gas

Police helicopters buzzed the air day and night nonstop, continued into next day beyond 6am

A gasoline fire at the base of the Oakland Tribune building is extinguished by brave protesters as police helicopters circle above.

New York Times coverage entry point here

LA Times coverage entry point here

SF Chronicle coverage entry point here

Nuanced philosophical justification for protest here

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